Netanyahu on Gaza Protesters: Israel Tried Non-lethal Methods, but Hamas Wants Them to Die

LONDON – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that Palestinian protesters on the Gaza border are not peaceful demonstrators, but members of Hamas. Netanyahu defended Israel’s use of live fire to stop the protesters, saying "Hamas wants them to die."

In London, speaking at a Q&A session hosted by Policy Exchange, Netanyahu was asked why Israeli troops don’t use non-lethal crowd control methods when faced with the protesters, to which he responded: "We tried water cannon, we tried tear gas and none worked." He added, however, that "given our record, we probably will figure out something. The last thing we want is violence [or] confrontation." When an audience member pressed Netanyahu on this issue, the premier said: We tried other ways, it doesn’t work. Hamas wants them to die."

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Pedestrians walk past a portrait of Syrian President Bashar Assad hanging in a street in the Syrian capital Damascus on May 31, 2018LOUAI BESHARA/AFP

– Netanyahu at a Q&A session in London.